Sunday, November 19, 2017 Edition: U.S. & World | Regional

Travel Guide to Iceland – A Visitors Guide to Iceland

Planning to travel to Iceland? This otherworldly destination is a true land of ice and fire, with massive glaciers and active volcanoes defining the landscape. Ride horseback across lava fields, check out the vibrant, welcoming nightlife of Reykjavik, or unwind in one of the many geothermal pools. Whether you're looking at a stopover on a flight or a dedicated Icelandic visit, this Iceland travel guide will get you started.

Iceland
Capital
Reykjavík, the capital and largest city of Iceland, is the northernmost capital of a sovereign state. The city embraces its Viking history as well as its modern culture.
330 thousand People
Iceland, a Nordic island nation, is defined by its dramatic landscape of volcanoes, hot springs and lava fields. Most of the population lives in Reykjavik, which runs on geothermal power.
Main Airport
Keflavík International Airport
Keflavík International Airport, also known as Reykjavík-Keflavík Airport, is the largest airport in Iceland and the country's main hub for international transportation
When to Go
Best Time
  • Spring: ~3°C (37°F)
    April - May
  • Summer: ~12°C (54°F)
    June - August
  • Autumn: ~5°C (41°F)
    September - October
  • Winter: ~2°C (36°F)
    November - March
Currency
kr
Kronur
10 Fun Facts
  • • There are no mountains in Iceland, just valleys.
  • • Iceland's 300+ glaciers cover over 11% of the land area.
  • • Iceland is one the most eco-friendly countries in the world.
  • • Iceland has no McDonald's restaurants, with the last of 3 closing in 2009.
  • • Iceland is one of just a few nations that still allows commercial whaling.
  • • There are more than 125 volcanic mountains in Iceland, with many still very active.
  • • Even though Iceland is quite “green,” it is sorely lacking when it comes to trees.
  • • While very close to Danish and Norwegian, the Icelandic language remains totally unique.
  • • Because it's located on the Mid-Atlantic ridge, Iceland is a very active country geologically.
  • • Iceland makes up for its lack of fast food with its bevy of downright weird traditional foods.
Basic Phrases
Icelandic
  • Hello
    Halló
  • Please
    Vinsamlegast
  • Goodbye
    Bless

  • Thank You
    Þakka þér fyrir
  • English
    Enska
Food and Drinks
  • Hangikjot
  • Pylsur
  • Vodka
  • Harðfiskur
  • Brennivin
  • Mondlukaka
  • Reyka
  • Saltfiskur
What to Tip
  • 10%
    Waitstaff
  • 10%
    Bartenders
  • None
    Taxi Drivers
  • None
    Porters per bag
  • None
    Tour Guides

Iceland, a Nordic island nation, is defined by its dramatic landscape of volcanoes, hot springs and lava fields. Most of the population lives in Reykjavik, which runs on geothermal power. The population of Iceland is approximately 330 thousand people. Iceland's currency is the Kronur.

Reykjavík, the capital and largest city of Iceland, is the northernmost capital of a sovereign state. The city embraces its Viking history as well as its modern culture.

The main airport serving Iceland is Keflavík International Airport. Also known as Reykjavík-Keflavík Airport, it is the largest airport in Iceland and the country's main hub for international transportation. It offers a 4 hour tour of the Reykjanes Peninsula for visitors with a long layover.

Iceland experiences four seasons.

  • Spring: April - May. Average temperature is ~3°C (37°F).
  • Summer: June - August. Average temperature is ~12°C (54°F).
  • Autumn: September - October. Average temperature is ~5°C (41°F).
  • Winter: November - March. Average temperature is ~2°C (36°F).

Visitors will want to be sure they don’t miss these top tourism attractions in Iceland.

Here are some interesting and fun facts you may not know about Iceland.

  • There are no mountains in Iceland, just valleys.
  • Iceland's 300+ glaciers cover over 11% of the land area.
  • Iceland is one the most eco-friendly countries in the world.
  • Iceland has no McDonald's restaurants, with the last of 3 closing in 2009.
  • Iceland is one of just a few nations that still allows commercial whaling.
  • There are more than 125 volcanic mountains in Iceland, with many still very active.
  • Even though Iceland is quite “green,” it is sorely lacking when it comes to trees.
  • While very close to Danish and Norwegian, the Icelandic language remains totally unique.
  • Because it's located on the Mid-Atlantic ridge, Iceland is a very active country geologically.
  • Iceland makes up for its lack of fast food with its bevy of downright weird traditional foods.

Don't leave your electronics at home. Here are the best Icelandic travel apps you'll want to download to your iPhone or Android device before your visit.

For a real Iceland experience, you need to try these iconic foods and drinks. Some are traditional Icelandic dishes while others have been "borrowed" from immigrants and neighbors.

  • Hangikjot
  • Pylsur
  • Vodka
  • Harðfiskur
  • Brennivin
  • Mondlukaka
  • Reyka
  • Saltfiskur

Work off that amazing food, enjoy the great outdoors, or just try something new. These favorite Icelandic activities let you get out and enjoy the country the way the locals do.

Every country has its own ideas of who should be tipped and how much. Nobody wants to overtip or, worse, be considered a rude guest. Here’s what to tip in Iceland.

  • Waitstaff – 10%
  • Bartenders – 10%
  • Taxi Drivers – None
  • Porters per bag – None
  • Tour Guides – None

From casual comfort to luxury accommodations, Iceland has plenty of great hotel choices for you to relax and unwind.

  • Icelandair Hotel – On the harbor and an 11-minute walk from the Harpa concert hall, this lively, stone-built hotel is 4 km from the revolving glass dome.
  • Hotel Reykjavik Centrum – In a colorful downtown building with sections dating back to 1764, this hotel is within an 11-minute walk of Harpa concert hall, National Museum of Iceland.
  • Radisson Blu 1919 Hotel – Built in 1919, this hotel is set a 12 minute walk from Hallgrimskirkja cathedral and 8 minutes from ReykjavikHarbor.
  • Reykjavik Residence Hotel – In the city center, this refined apartment hotel is an 8-minute walk from both Hall- grímskirkja cathedral and Harpa concert hall and from the National Gallery of Iceland.
  • Hotel Rangá  – This upscale, log-built hotel overlooks the Ytri-Rangá, a river popular for salmon fishing, and is 6 km from the Saga Center history museum.
  • Ion Adventure Hotel – In a stilted modernist structure set against a glacial backdrop, this co- ntemporary hotelis 1 km from Nesjavellir Geothermal Power Station.

Rugged outdoor adventure, friendly locals, and surreal scenery are just part of the appeal of this one a kind destination. Most visitors to Iceland prefer to choose a Reykjavik home base and daytripping to experience the many attractions of this Nordic wonder.


5 Comments

  1. Albert Bruce
    September 5, 2017 - 3:42 am

    Iceland is undoubtedly a one stop destination for fun lovers, but I can say its also a destination for beer lovers. I like drinking Vodka in a cool environment, and wouldn’t like to miss out on these luxury hotels. Obviously, Iceland is calling me!

    Reply
  2. Victoria Lee
    September 5, 2017 - 6:33 pm

    Iceland! Sounds like a region of ice, but I’m shocked it still possess volcanoes and fires. A wonderful place to behold.

    Reply
  3. Eden Aurora
    September 5, 2017 - 6:39 pm

    I’ve heard much about the Iceland, and this article just gave me a deeper insight on what travel to Iceland has to offer.

    Reply
  4. Ava William
    September 6, 2017 - 2:30 pm

    A country with few trees? I think it’s time to rewrite my list and find a good position for Iceland there. It will also be cool to see the active volcano sites.

    Reply
  5. Ronald Kevin
    September 6, 2017 - 2:38 pm

    Oh! I actually planned visiting Iceland the next winter with my family. But right now, I think the temperature there at such time may just be too cold for my girls. I will have to reschedule the visit, probably to next summer. It will be better then. Thanks for the post.

    Reply

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